It’s been a whirlwind of a senior year for Maya Nessmith, daughter of Douglas and Dorothy Nessmith. She is this year’s valedictorian for Trinity Christian School.
Nessmith says that the hectic pace has been due to all of the opportunities she has experienced this past year.
“I have had amazing opportunities to compete in robotics and to introduce younger students to the joys of STEM. It has been so much fun to teach younger students to code and build LEGO EV3 robots,” she said.
Nessmith has attended Trinity since she was in the fifth grade. A driven student, she has loved math, science and history, but English? Not so much. She says she has been driven to do her best academically by a “desire to get into my dream school and succeed in a career in which I can passionately help others.”
S he earned scholarships at two colleges, and has qualified for the Zell Miller scholarship. She also earned an award from the American Legion, and the DAR. She won the GAPPS State Spelling Competition, and placed second in her division for forms in Taekwondo during the Global Celebration last summer. She also graduated from the Bulloch Youth Leadership program in 2022.
She will begin college this fall at the University of Georgia, where she will study biological engineering and computer systems engineering.
“I chose UGA because I enjoyed the environment of the campus. Their Fablabs are incredible, and the students seem to have a good quality of life,” she said. She’s most looking forward to, she added, being able to meet more people and make use of the maker spaces.
Nessmith is hoping to work in a field that uses both robotics and computer science to better people’s lives, either through prosthetics or by automated machinery.
“I greatly enjoy robotics and programming, and have since I first joined a LEGO robotics team at Trinity. My dad works with programming and computers, and I have found it fascinating for as long as I can remember. I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t want to work with code,” she said, adding that she always knew she wanted to work with computers and programming, but her passion for robotics is something she only recently discovered.
While at Trinity, Nessmith accomplished much, but the thing she is most proud of is when she was finally able to code a robot successfully. She says it was great to see something that you build perform how you want it and watch it exceed your expectations.
Outside of the classroom, Nessmith says she is most proud of her robotics team, the Barnstormers, which has afforded her the opportunity to volunteer in the community.
“I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer with different organizations, like the Boys and Girls Club of Statesboro and Georgia Southern’s Field Experience, and teach elementary and middle-schoolers how to program and build LEGO robots. I also volunteer with Trinity Presbyterian Church to help with VBS during the summer,” she said. “I also practice Taekwondo with GTMA under the leadership of Mrs. Johnson.”
She says she also enjoys reading, drawing and playing video games.
When asked if she has a hero or someone that she’s looked up to, Nessmith has an unconventional answer for someone her age: Hedy Lamarr.
“I admire her work, which paved the way for the invention of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. She took the first steps toward its creation,” she said.